Image of Kula Kitchen by Luis Valdizon
BC-based restaurant and foodservice industry support hub Breaking Bread has launched an innovative new photography fundraiser called ‘Behind the Plexi’ to provide a helping hand to Vancouver’s restaurant industry workers in the time of COVID-19.
The new initiative comes about as the result of a collaboration between Breaking Bread — Canada’s first COVID-19 response initiative, launched on March 13, 2020 in support of independent food and beverage businesses — and Vancouver restaurateur Brad Roark of restaurants Oddfish and Nook.
Roark envisioned the idea for the project after being inspired by a similar photo-essay fundraiser called Lockdown 2.0 that was launched in support of Toronto-area foodservice businesses earlier this year and spearheaded by Jody Shapiro, Chef/Co-Owner of Antler Kitchen & Bar.
“I really think that a lot of changes are going to come out of the hospitality industry during this time,” said Shapiro of his Lockdown 2.0 project that helped inspire Behind the Plexi. “And it’ll be very interesting to see — when we look back at these photos — what things stuck around, and what things changed.”
Much like Lockdown 2.0, Behind the Plexi features a raw, behind-the-scenes glimpse into a number of beloved Vancouver-area restaurants during the pandemic by offering a series of limited-edition prints available for purchase for a limited time until Monday, May 31 here.
“Jody’s project really caught my eye and got the ball rolling,” says Roark. “As a fellow restaurateur, I have felt every challenge of this past year and a bit. We are all working hard to keep things moving forward and keep people employed. It goes without saying that we are also trying to save our businesses, and in doing so, the culture of small, owner-operated restaurants themselves.”
Four acclaimed Vancouver-based photographers graciously donated their artistic eyes and time for the Behind the Plexi project, including: Wade Comer(@wadecomerphoto), Miranda Hudson(@hudsonny), William Luk(@mayowill) and Luis Valdizon(@whentheyfindus).
“We’re working with some extremely talented photographers and we allowed them to embrace their creative freedom and unique talents and their own way of seeing things,” says Breaking Bread Founder and SMC Communications Inc. Founder and President Shelley McArthur Everett.
“We wanted to let them photograph these places and people the way they saw it and I think the variety of different images and representations of what it’s like to be a restaurant in the midst of this pandemic has been absolutely amazing, and all proceeds will go towards creating a very real and lasting legacy for restaurant workers in Vancouver.”
All proceeds from each print will be dedicated to the creation of two new scholarships for restaurant workers who have experienced employment setbacks due to COVID-19 — one via the @bchospitalityfoundation and the other to the @chineserestaurantawards scholarship at Vancouver Community College. The Chinese Restaurant Awards will also contribute $10 for every print sold from the collection of photos taken at Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants.
“It is this culture that we continue to cultivate that provides a sense of togetherness and vibrancy in our communities,” says Roark. “Behind the Plexi aims to capture the very essence of this time period — a period of determination and resoluteness to keep going until we can get through this and come out the other side.”
For more information or to purchase prints, go towww.breakingbreadnow.com/behind-the-plexi.